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  • simonathibault 11:07 am on October 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Read Up On It For October 17th, 2014 

    First and foremost for this edition of Read Up On It, kudos and congratulations to Renée Lavallée for taking first place at the 2014 edition of the Gold Medal Plates competition. And happy 40th!


    Photo by Doug Townsend

    Renée Lavallée reacts to her win at the Gold Medal Plates on October 16th. Photo by Doug Townsend.


    • Also in the Times: Anna North talks about how the latte is an example of how people view conspicuous consumption, as well as politics. North also spoke with KCRW’s Evan Kleiman on Good Food.
  • simonathibault 10:12 am on September 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Return Of Read Up On It 

    After a summer hiatus, Read Up On It returns to Passable, delivering some of the best and most interesting food stories found online. Take a bite into the news with these links:

    Dead Coffee

    • Watson, the super computer created by IBM, concocted a cocktail called, what else, The Big Blue Hurricane. (via Gizmodo)
    • And finally, why we eat what we eat, and what is says about you, as a person, and as a member of a culture. (via HuffPo)
  • simonathibault 7:09 pm on September 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Field Guide, ,   

    Au Revoir, Assis Toi 

    And so, it is with a heavy heart, and a bit of a buzz that I say goodbye to this season’s edition of  Assis Toithe series.


    To finish the series off, I met up with Passable contributor, Melissa Buote. She had introduced me to a wonderful cocktail called The Trinidad Sour at The Field Guide.  The catch: the cocktail is made with an entire ounce of Angostura Bitters.

    Take a listen as Melissa and The Field Guide’s bartender, Shane, tell us why a cocktail made with such a bracing amount of bitters is actually one of the most balanced cocktails you will ever try.  You can also download the podcast from iTunes.

    I’d like to thank all of the chefs, home cooks, and food lovers who helped make this series possible:

    • Melissa Buote and the gang from Field Guide for laughing and getting me tipsy
    • And last but not least, the producers at Information Morning in Halifax, Sydney, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, and Island Morning in PEI for giving me another opportunity to tell stories from all sorts of kitchen tables. Special thanks to Diane Paquette for spearheading the project, Jerry West and Margot Brunelle for helping me with vetting, and Christina Harnett, who wasn’t afraid to tell me to re-write a script.
  • MB 8:57 pm on September 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Small Victories   

    Big Day Downtown: People's Choice 

    Another summer, another Big Day Downtown. Every Summer the Downtown Halifax Business Commission bribes a bunch of bloggers to write nice things about the downtown core with $150 credit card. For one beautiful afternoon we get to happily turn a blind eye to the crumbling facades of empty buildings that Starfish Properties continues to collect in their seemingly endless endeavour to create an empty husk of a city and, at least in Passable’s case, focus on eating everything in our path.

    (More …)

  • simonathibault 8:59 am on September 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Sandor Katz,   

    Assis Toi: Fermentation Fun 

    I didn’t believe it when I heard that Sandor Katz was coming to Halifax.

    One of Katz's books

    One of Katz’s books

    The author of The Art Of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation recently paid a visit to Nova Scotia to teach classes on fermentation, including classes at enVie and the Wolfville Farmers Market.

    Katz is pretty much known as THE guy to talk to about fermentation in North America, and so his coming to the province was a big coup to those of us who live for sauerkraut, kefirs, and kimchis. And so I was very excited to have the opportunity to sit down with him and chat about fermentation. Take a listen to it here via Information Morning Nova Scotia’s website or download the podcast.

    Next week is my last edition of Assis Toi, so stay tuned for a little nightcap (hint hint).

  • simonathibault 10:02 am on August 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Assis Toi: When food doesn't taste good 

    This week’s edition of Assis Toi looks at food in a different way: as a chore.

    This episode is very personal, as it involves a family member going through cancer treatments. The treatments essentially robbed her of her sense of taste and smell, and made eating a less than pleasant experience.

    Seeing someone who loves food becoming someone who laments the very notion of eating made me look at food in a completely different way.

    These are two of the reasons my sister holds on to as she fights cancer

    These are two of the reasons my sister held on to when fighting cancer. Their names are Sophie and Ella.

    You can listen to the episode by streaming on Information Morning’s website.

  • simonathibault 5:55 pm on August 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Halifax Cookie Cravings, Pies,   

    Assis Toi: Pie and Cookies. 

    It’s a baking extravaganza on “Assis Toi”!

    My mom's pie does not look like this. It looks much better.

    My mom’s pie does not look like this. It looks much better.

    Last year’s final episode of “Assis Toi” took me all the way back home, proverbially speaking. I interviewed my mother, Jeanne, about her pie-making skills. Last week, I revisited that episode on CBC Radio’s Information Morning. You can download that podcast here from iTunes.

    This week on “Assis Toi”, I visit with Diana from Halifax Cookie Cravings. She recounts her love of baking, her beautiful Pashley Britannia Bicycle, and how people like to hug her when she comes around. Why? Because she is delivering cookies! You can stream the episode here or download the podcast here.

  • MB 10:00 pm on August 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bourdain, cosplay, fish, goss, , Michael Smith   

    All the Goss: August 7 

    Gossip Time!!!


    I guess Guy Fieri was busy, because Devour: The Food Film Fest has had to settle for his BFF, boring ol’ Anthony “I Wear My Sunglasses On the Front of My Face Like a Boring Non-Guy-Fieri Person” Bourdain, as a special guest this November. I guess Wolfville will never get to be renamed Flavourtown now. THANKS, BOURDAIN. Anyway, I hope he refuses to eat anything that isn’t served to him on one of those awful little ceramic spoons they use on The Taste. I also hope he glares at something.

    Wingdings is closed. A new chicken wing restaurant will be popping up in its place, and unfortunately it is not called Wingdings2 or Wingdings3 or Dingbats or even Zapf. Way to go, marketing geniuses. Instead this place will be called Wing N It. Which, let’s be honest, is Blow N It. Who is going to delight typeface designers now?!

    Afishionado Fishmongers will be opening at Local Source later this summer, and then, I’m assuming lording their name over every other fish store in Nova Scotia for the rest of their lives. They should call up that wing restaurant and give them some help. Because that is a great name. Whoever came up with that is Nail N It.

    With the closure of Crumbs causing food industry types to immediately sandblast the year 2014 in the year-of-death space on the tombstone marked CUPCAKES, it should come as no surprise that the Dresden Row location of Susie’s Shortbreads has closed. But just hold on a minute before you throw yourself into any open graves while screaming “take me with you, buttercreammmm!” — the Bayer’s Lake and Purdy’s Wharf locations are still open. So don’t look so smug, cronuts. You haven’t won yet.

    Not content with Boom Burger darkening our doorsteps, those wily Islanders are sending Gahan House this-a-way, too. Our pal Halifax ReTales suspected it would be in the old Hart & Thistle location, and it is. Meanwhile, I suspect Celebrity Chef Michael Smith, long-time Northern Exposure cosplayer and Crown Prince of Prince Edward Island, is playing some sort of game of Risk with Atlantic Canadian chefs and is shoring up his occupation of Bedford with troops on the peninsula. I can only hope that Celebrity Chef Craig Flinn will roll the dice, gain some territory near Stanley Bridge or New London, and DESTROY HIM.

    Picnic Halifax, a roving pop-up business, launched. Dinners will be on Thursdays, and Picnic will change menus and locations every six weeks. If Dr. Richard Kimble hadn’t found that one-armed man, I bet he would have totally stolen this business idea.

    Certainly Cinnamon‘s secret is out: they are expanding their catering business. The Coast found out all the biz. The only thing that matters to me is that ain’t nothin’ gonna get in the way of my cinnamon rolls. The cafe is business as usual.

    The Seahorse will be moving out of its historic location because—I’m not sure if any of you know this—the developers in Halifax are actually a team of producers who are remaking 28 Days Later and want to make this production run as smoothly as possible so are doing their best to ensure that downtown Halifax is TOTALLY FUCKING EMPTY. Jesus. Anyway, the part of Jim, originated by Cillian Murphy, will be played by one of Bubbles’ cats from Trailer Park Boys. It should be great!

    Edited to add:

    My condolences to fans of club sandwiches, as the Midday Bistro in downtown Dartmouth is under new ownership now, and no longer trades in pork products. So that’s the end of the line for you, bacon. To make up for this loss, the menu is going to be featuring more Middle Eastern specialties, like the stuffed grape leaves that have been added to the display case. This is a classic case of Boo/Yay. I’m gonna miss those sausages, though.

    And it’s good news for fans of Steve’s Hotdogs, the work-a-day, classic hot dog cart that used to be at Piercy’s on Robie Street. While the dummies at RONA didn’t keep him around because they hate greatness, Steve’s will now be just up the road in a space behind the Forum.



    • Allan 8:28 am on August 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I wish I had gone with our original name now “Picity-nickity-wickwack-ty” just to fit in better!

  • simonathibault 6:36 pm on August 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Sea Urchin, , Uni   

    Assis Toi: You say whore’s eggs, I say uni 

    The first time I tasted it, I didn’t understand it.

    Food should not melt like this in my mouth. It’s like a briny foam peanut.

    The second time, I knew what to expect, and appreciated it a bit more. My other half, did not.

    Now, I have to say that I enjoy fresh sea urchin roe, often known by its japanese name, uni.

    A few years ago, I had the chance to meet Nick Budreski, who told me a rather interesting story about how his father came to harvest the spiny little guys. In this episode of “Assis Toi”, Budreski tells that story, as well as some of the difficulties in gathering the revered and reviled seafood.

    (More …)

  • simonathibault 10:54 am on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Stillwell Beer Bar   

    Assis Toi: It’s five o’clock somewhere… 

    For the latest episode of Assis Toi, I sat down for a beer with Chris Reynolds from Stillwell Beer Bar.


    Located on Barrington Street, Reynolds and the rest of the crew have a great devotion to beer in all its forms. In their infinite wisdom, they decided that a form that might work for me is a lambic beer.

    Essentially, lambics are beers brewed with wild yeasts that are present in the air. In this case, it was an Oude Kriek Vielle, a fruit lambic made with cherries.

    The instant I tasted it I understood it, or rather it understood me.

    My brain didn’t register that I was drinking a beer – something generally malty, yeasty – but something dry and crisp, with a mild sourness in its finish, but not unpleasantly so.

    Take a listen to Chris wax poetic about beers in the latest episode of Assis Toi, which you can stream here. or download the podcast here.


    • Jayme 12:57 pm on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As a beer nerd (and one of the few BJCP certified beer judges in the region), I was thrilled to hear your piece during my morning commute on Information Morning. Sour beers are all the rage these days in many parts of the United States but have just barely begun to show up in the Canadian beer scene (there are some breweries in Quebec, Ontario, and BC brewing sours to my knowledge – not lambics though, that is a term exclusive to a region in Belgium).

      Lambics are a complex, beautiful style of beer. I recommend you try a Gueuze (sometimes spelled Geuze), which is a blend of 1, 2 and 3 year old lambics (no fruit added). Oud Beersel makes an excellent version of the style, though Cantillon’s various blends are probably the most sought after. After blending the various ages beers, the depth of flavour takes on a whole new dimension. Another interesting sour beer style which would be similar to the Kriek you tried, would be a Flanders Red. They tend to be somewhat hard to find locally (not that lambics are easy to find either), but you come across a Rodenbach Grand Cru, I think you will thoroughly enjoy it.


      • simonathibault 12:59 pm on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks! And now I know where to dig/drink.

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